The Red Sox, after a four day layoff, head to the west coast to faces the Angels this weekend for a four game series that carries over to Monday. As the Red Sox prepare for this series, John Farrell set his rotation for the first three games out in the City of Angels.
Wade Miley, who closed out the first half, will open the second half—pitching on regular rest. Rick Porcello will get the start Saturday night while Eduardo Rodriguez will take the mound on Sunday. No starter has been announced for Monday as of yet, but likely Brian Johnson will be making his major league debut or Justin Masterson will take the ball again.
The time is now for the Red Sox to make a statement. After a series with the Angels the Sox will travel to Houston for three games before returning home. The Sox took 2 of 3 from Houston just last weekend. The Sox sit at 42-47; not exactly where they should be after the off-season they had. Being 5 games under .500 does have them in last place, but they are only 6.5 games behind the first place Yankees.
The trade deadline is only two weeks away and label of buyer or seller is something the Red Sox have embraced. Clay Buchholz’ injury hurts the Red Sox in the present and the future—he could help them keep winning or help them get some good pieces back at the trade deadline. The extent of his injury is unknown as is how long he will be out for, but the Red Sox rotation likely will not stack up without Buchholz entering it again sometime soon.
Rick Porcello needs to continue to keep the ball down. Ryan Hanigan will likely catch Porcello for the rest of the season as they try to replicate his most recent start where he gave up two runs and lowered his ERA to a still high 5.90. The time is now for Porcello to make a statement that he can be the pitcher the Red Sox acquired to help anchor the top of the rotation.
The Red Sox took 2 of 3 from the current best team in the AL after Hanley Ramirez hit a game-winning 2-run home run Sunday to lift the Sox over the Houston Astros. That home run gave the Red Sox their 11th win in 17 games, as they continue to tease us. The worst part—this team looks like a completely different team than the one that we have been watching for the past 3 months.
Minus a few exceptions, notably Rick Porcello (who got slammed in his last start against Toronto), everyone has been performing better in the past couple of weeks. Hanley Ramirez has hit 5 home runs in his last 10 games, and catcher Ryan Hanigan recorded his first 3 hit game in over a year against the Astros. Let’s not forget to mention the stability Hanigan brings behind the plate (the Sox are 12-8 in games that he starts this season).
And then there’s Koji Uehara who is riding a 7 inning scoreless streak and holding opposing hitters to 1-23 during that span. Like I said, the Red Sox are getting more consistent performances from more of the players.
The Red Sox are making me be optimistic again, and while I really want to believe they can get hot, I’ve heard this story before. Specifically, last year. The Red Sox went 9-1 right before the All Star Break last year, and fell apart after the Red Sox front office dealt away 4 of their 5 starters at the trade deadline. Everything went to pieces after that. Now, I don’t know what their plans for this trade deadline are, but I’m a little worried about that happening again.
I hope my worst fears don’t come true and the front office doesn’t decide to be sellers again. It seems, at least right now, like they’re poised to make a run if they are buyers at the deadline. I think they’re a good #1 starter and some bullpen help away from making a late season push in a weak AL East division if they hold on to their core guys, and add the parts I just suggested. I hope they can pull it off, but I could be wrong. I hope I’m not though. I’ve said before that I hate losing.
Watching the Houston series was pretty wild. There were wins and losses. The comebacks were monumental, and the initial loss devastating, but all the while, sitting in the Astros’ stands were the Fenway faithful. Yes, in Houston the crowd could be heard yelling. “Let’s go Red Sox! Let’s go Red Sox!”
New Englanders know that fans of this team are all over the country. We see this when we travel to other cities and spy Red Sox hats and t-shirts. We see them in the stands when we sit home at night watching the games. Never, though, have I heard the cheers for the Red Sox quite like those expressed in Texas. This begs the question: why the concentration of such devoted fans in Texas a place best known for ten-gallon hats and barbeque, not scully caps and chowdah?!? It was then that I took to the Internet in search for an answer to my question.
I quickly found a meetup group filled with 286 active members located in Houston, TX. They get together to watch, or attend, games. This must have been the group making all that noise during the games. Could they have gone to all of the games in Houston? I suppose so. Anything seems possible after winning 70 games, 1 more game than we won during the entire 2012 season.
Finally, I found that there are 41 Red Sox Nation groups in 33 states with just over 9000 members nationwide. There is a whole organization called the Governors of Red Sox Nation that live all over the United States (and Canada). Most of the states do not have baseball teams, and are not members of the American League. For those states that the Red Sox do travel to, it is up to these groups to start whooping it up like their fellow fans in Houston.
The bar has been set, Red Sox Nation, let’s get to those games and make your voices heard!